Pandemic Psychology

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By Rani Rathna Prabha

IT is known today, what is of more concern and is more challenging to the world is, tackling the pandemic. The ongoing pandemic has not only been affecting individuals and states in an obvious manner, but has also influenced the human psyche terribly.

At the beginning of the pandemic, while countries were in chaos and battling with life and  death  situation round the clock and lock down was imposed as a measure to check the spread of virus; people were put into a new perspective of life. It was compelling and unwarranted; challenging and alarming.

The lockdown took people to a situation very similar to erstwhile generations when technology was in its nascent state. People lived close knit with family and every moment was shared and cherished within family, friends and also with neighbors.  But the nineties and twenties generations were all different and geared up to electronic gadgets. The rapid advancement in technology and the elite corporate world took over the family time and the proximity of it, the demanding work style and varied timeline to a large extent changed the routines and practices of the social life. What mattered was individual space and the run to catch up with the challenges of everyday life.

But the coronavirus pandemic pushed the clock back once again to family mode.

It has been a difficult time but it has also paved a way to some good things such as spending quality time with family and friends. The lockdown, in a way, reinstated families that had parted physically and emotionally to ‘get to gether’ and retrieved the joy of being together — even though on the other end, many were left uncertain about their next meal and their jobs were at stake as the lockdown continued indefinitely.

Even as the pandemic had a flip side to it, not everything was rosy. As covid-19 spread more and more, so did the anxiety, behavioral disorders, depression, insecurity and suicidal tendencies owing to fear and isolation.

Social behavioral study experts are stupefied at the rate of increase in the patients suffering from depression, emotional trauma, a surge in heart attacks and change in the brain chemistry that showed new patterns of behavior with the change in the situation. With time, as Covid spread rampantly, so did the threat and anxiety about life.

Even the very closeness to family turned toxic as one was left to the imposing and monotonous regime of everyday life in a lockdown. Locked in for months, glued and bugged with gadgets, with the news of the deadliness of covid-19 and the bleakness in news all over; even the best of minds found it hard to cope up.

 

This gruesome realisation of the uncertainty of life, and the futility of science, technology and modern governments, has once again pressed the need and trust in ancient remedies and traditions. Thereby making us check our ignorance and arrogance.

It seems as if it was nature’s way of taking its own call over the abuses and misdeeds of the age.

Death is certain one day but the pandemic deaths have spread terror and trauma thereby increasing psychological disorders largely due to fear of isolation, uncertainty and even misconceptions. People now dread to go to hospitals even for casual to major consultations. They prefer suffering at home rather than running the risk of getting infected and testing positive. Moreover, the visuals of Covid deaths and burials have been hard on everyone.

Covid-19 pandemic has exposed how vulnerable and helpless the society is in spite of so called “growth and advancement” , and how time can swing to and fro and still hold things under its wrap. A situation such as this could leave anybody shattered and choice less,  reduced only to suffer helplessly and alone, irrespective of being affected or not.

Though there is no vaccine nor a sure remedy yet, people seem to be less bothered by the threat. Or it could be that hunger and the basic needs of life predominate even the fear of disease and death. People are bouncing back to walk their normal life, some are doing it out of need and others out of choice.

The pandemic as a way of life, can possibly stay for a while. Even after, life may throw new challenges our way. However, the drastic change in the mindset due to Covid-19 has thrown to light, the resilience of man. It has highlighted human mind’s ability to adopt and to make itself adept. It is indeed true that every catastrophe opens up a new beginning.

  • The author is an English Poet who is working as an Assistant Professor of English at Government First Grade College Sirsi, Karnataka. She’s an alumnus of Bangalore University

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